Bonn, 1 September 2008: Last week’s
meeting in Bali, Indonesia, of the signatories to the UNEP/CMS
Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management
of Dugongs (Dugong dugon) included a ceremony at which representatives
of Comoros, Kenya and Philippines signed the agreement.
These three signatures bring the total number of countries
involved in the initiative to eleven, less than a year after
it was finalised in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Participants summarised the conservation challenges and
priorities in their countries and discussed a mechanism
for funding future activities. Terms of reference for project
funding were agreed and a simple system which will allow
Range States to apply for grants will be elaborated. Further
details will be posted on the CMS website in due course.
The most exciting news was the welcome and generous offer
from Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) to provide full
funding for the operations of the MoU, including the establishment
of a secretariat to service the Dugong agreement. Details
of the offer, which had been circulated to interested States
earlier in the year, were spelled out in a paper tabled
at the meeting. The EAD offer also foresees the creation
of a sub-regional coordination unit for the northwestern
area of the Indian Ocean and South East Asia Marine Turtle
MoU (CMS/IOSEA) and additional staff to service the CMS
Raptor Agreement currently under negotiation. Delegates
welcomed the EAD offer, which will inject some USD 3.4 million
into CMS-related activities over the first three years of
Executive Secretary, Robert Hepworth, who attended the
meeting described the Emirate’s offer as “extremely
generous” and said it would provide a springboard
for success for two of the ten CMS regional agreements negotiated
since the last CMS COP in 2005, as well as relieving future
budgetary pressures on both the Convention and IOSEA.
The photo above shows Philippine Ambassador H.E. Vidal
Erfe Querol signing the Dugong Agreement in the presence
of CMS Executive Secretary, Robert Hepworth, and CMS Senior
Advisor, Douglas Hykle
The Dugong meeting was held back-to-back with the Fifth
Meeting of IOSEA Signatory States during the period 19-23
August 2008. A total of one hundred delegates from 30 countries
attended the combined events.